Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moved Out, Move Along, Nothing to See Here...

As you may have gathered, dear friends who read this silliness, I got overwhelmed with work and let the Pittfoodness slide.

But the upshot is that I have moved - to Boston.

The fun continues, I hope you'll join me at
make me feel the love!

until then...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Super Mister Potato Head

Tater Tots! (I ordered mine well done...)

Tiny fried crispy friends! Reminiscent of grade 4! Tater tots, in the able hands of the staff at the Waterfront location of Bar Louie, are as surprisingly great eats as were some of the other offerings we enjoyed from this little chain restaurant's kitchen. Some, not so much... but definitely not BAD, well priced, and right across from the movie theatre.


I know that I have custom of disdain for chain restaurants, but this was decent.


I had a black cherry mojito - which is actually more of a blackberry mojito. It was tasty but seemingly ethanol-free. T enjoyed a traditional mojito and was surprisingly buzzed after about 1/8th of it. So, ymmv. Fresh blackberries made mine tasty, though. Don't tell my mother, but I kinda pounded it, and still, nuthin.

For my main course, I ordered a "small plate" of pot roast sliders. Now, I do have a small gripe here - two, actually. gripe #1: these aren't sliders - they're a smallish sandwich on some weirdly mushy shite bread that has been cut into four pieces. gripe #2: the meat is supposed to be accompanied by horseradish mashed potatoes. Fascinatingly, this is yet another of the burgh's missing ingredients - no horseradish. As I have said before, kids, the nose knows. And horseradish is an easy one. So, the sliders were ok - a lot of bread, little meat, bland-ish flavor from the mysteriously missing horseradish, but the meat itself was tender, fat fully rendered out, and good if not stingy in portion.


I got a side of tater tots.

Which is precisely what you should do if you find yourself down at the waterworks and want a drink and salty snack. Definitely the finest iteration of this Reagan-era school lunch vegetable that I have ever seen. I suspect they're high temp deep friend to crispy perfection, and then dusted with a spice-salt mix that smells like it contains dehydrated tomato, black pepper, and I am not sure what else. Nummy. Crispy. Infantile. $3.50 bought more than two diners could down - we managed less than half. And no hair nets and lunch ladies. No detention if you throw 'em. But I wouldn't waste this junk food nirvana.

Just for completeness, T had a BBQ chicken pizza. I dislike chicken on pizza, it just bugs me. Oddly, not one but ALL except the sole vegetarian pizza have chicken as a topping! Not really a pizza, more of a squishy flatbread. Sauce was a little sweet. But T liked it overall, although he noted dough was soft and too fluffy and would have fallen into a heap if he hadn't cut and eaten it with a knife and fork.

Summary judgments for the Waterworks location of Bar Louie: ok for the price and location. Service was pleasant and efficient, drinks were tasty but inconsistent in potency, food was ok except for mystery ingredients and lousy job done in every iteration of bread. BUT a bright shining beacon of goodness, hope and youth would bring me back - go there for tater tots and beer. Seriously.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cheesy and Wet (or, the Soggy Bloggy)

No, kids. I am not referring to a porno about tacky young things from Boca Raton. "Cheesy and wet" is the best way I can summarize the experiences that I have had at Pizza Sola (along the border of East Liberty and Shadyside) Which is sad, since it is pretty near to my apartment, the space is tidy and bright, the service is friendly, and the guy stretching dough in the window makes you think you are in for a treat.


the thing is...

it is cheesy and wet.

Seriously, that dough looks perfect. But it gets overmoistened, undercooked, and ruined.

What I mean is this: there is too much cheese (something which I did not believe could be possible), and the result is that the pizza is extremely soggy. I have eaten at Pizza Sola three times. One heads up - all three times I had to add salt to my pizza, which may have had some magical hygroscopic effect and produced the deluge. So, maybe the "Hodgedonality" was my fault. In which case, instead I will criticize that the pizza, especially the sauce, is pretty to look at, but flavorless. Kinda like an ex (or six) of mine. Ahh, the "chain of fools" as a girlfriend of mine once said.

but I digress.

The first time, we ordered a whole pie, classic in style, with some veg toppings. Summary: smelled good, looked pretty, wound up tasting kinda dull, undercooked in the middle, and soggy..

Second time. I had a slice. This was plain cheese-n-sauce, reheated in the oven, selected from a wide array of gargantuanly sized, generously topped slices. This was the best pizza I had from Pizza Sola, which I have come to believe is for two reasons: 1) It was simple and lightly covered and 2) it was cooked twice, thereby preventing that dastardly undercooked and soggy center.

The third try was the tie-breaker, and sadly, we won't be going back. This time we ordered a ricotta and sausage pie (we tried something without red sauce since the prior two times I found the sauce to taste rather flat and simple. If you need a taste, you can whip up something similar at home by combining Campbell's condensed tomato soup, undiluted, with dried oregano and maybe two drops of household vinegar. Mangia!). We watched a sturdy young surfer-dude hand stretch a perfect orb of smooth white-flour dough into a lovely disk of pizza potential. It was topped and took a ride in the oven. It smelled luscious. It was served to us promptly by a friendly server. We waited a long moment. And then served it up. One taste...

and it was cheesy and wet.



and needed a horse-lick of salt. shocking!

I didn't manage to eat even one slice. I was so bummed out, since I love cheese (no secret) and had just had the life shattering discovery that, yes indeedy, you really can have too much of a good thing.

To make matters worse, that good thing had pissed all over my dinner. Only sorta figuratively. See for yourself.

Summary judgment for Pizza Sola: hard to wreck a pizza. They wrecked it 2 out of 3 times. Upshot: nice spot, nice service, and the dough guy is doing his job. Downside: flat flavors and moisture management issues. While it is still pizza (can't be all that bad, right?), it is pricy stuff when my neighborhood corner pizza joint is half the price, more consistent, and quite a lot better. Alas, Pizza Sola won't be my one and only. Looks pretty, though. Noneless, after three dates, Pizza Sola is out. Join the chain, my friend.